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tv   FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace  FOX  April 11, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT

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play with legos to wind down after a day. >> look at these creations. they are lego flowers and people and even some abstract art. the art is on display at the lakeview museum of sciences in peoria. good day to walk around downtown. beautiful. 75 degrees and sunny. i'm chris wallace and this is "fox news sunday." two new battles for the u.s. senate. first, will president obama's choice to replace john paul stevens on the supreme court be confirmed? then, will the senate ratify the new arms control treaty between the u.s. and russia? we'll get answers from lamar alexander, chairman of the senate republican conference, and independent joe lieberman, a senior member of the arms services committee. then a rising republican star talks about the president's agenda, the tea party movement, and more. congresswoman michele bachmann.
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only on "fox news sunday." and we'll ask our sunday panel if the president will look for a fight or try to avoid one with the supreme court nominee. all right now on "fox news sunday." hello again from fox news in washington. well, after the bruising fight over healthcare reform, the senate returns this week to a potential battle. a vacancy on the supreme court and arms control treaty with russia. joining us from the home states are two senate leaders. republican lamar alexander of tennessee, and independent joe lieberman of connecticut. gentlemen, let's start with the new opening on the supreme court with the retirement of justice stevens. senator alexander, you issued a statement on friday in which you said this -- "in truly extraordinary cases i preserve the prerogative to vote no on confirmation or even to vote to deny up-and-down vote."
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what kind of nominee would you filibuster? >> well, it's premature to talk about that before we even have a nominee, but that comes out of the gang of 14 discussion we had a few years ago. basically, i was deeply offended by how the democrats changed the rules on president bush's supreme court nominees. i said at the time that as long as the president nominated well-qualified people who would be impartial, that they should have up-or-down vote and i'd vote to confirm them. i voted for justice sotomayor. if the president picks someone from the fringe, instead of from the middle, or if he picks someone who will apply their feelings instead of applying the law, then that might be an extraordinary case when i can't vote for that nominee. >> chris: but back in 2005, senator alexander, when the democrats were in the minority, and as you point out they were blocking bush judicial nominees, you took a very different view. let's put it on the screen --
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senator alexander, what's changed? >> well, what's changed is the senate of a body of precedence. i said that then, then i worked with the gang of 14. i think senator lieberman was a part of that. >> i was. >> to say except in cases of judicial extraordinary cases we're going to allow up-or-down vote. i still believe in that. that is my view. there was no even discussion of a filibuster of justice sotomayor. and i was one of the republicans who voted to confirm her. >> chris: senator lieberman, what do you make of talk of a possible filibuster at this stage? and should the president nominate a moderate to avoid a partisan battle in the senate? >> well, of course, this is up to the president. i mean this is one of the most significant rights and responsibilities that the president earns with his election. and this particular president, barack obama, is a lawyer, has been a law
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professor, is very aware of the importance of the supreme court and our system of government. so i think he is going to think long and hard about this and take advantage of it, because it may have one of the more lasting effects of anything he does in the presidency, as we see from justice stevens who was nominated by president ford. look, if recent history is any guide, and let's take president bush and even the sotomayor nomination by president obama. president bush nominated two people. justice roberts, and justi just alito who had records generally thought to be conservative, but not shall we say provocatively conservative. the same was probably true of sotomayor, justice sotomayor. and i would expect here that to avoid a conflict, threat of a filibuster, a real knock-down/drag-out battle in an election year, that president obama may also want to nominate a justice who has
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the kind of capability he will feel comfortable, but will not have a record on the court or off that will provoke a filibuster. this is a fascinating moment, because it may be for all these reas reasons and acknowledging the fact that justice stevens became the leader of the liberal wing of the supreme court, that president obama may nominate someone, in fact, who makes the court slightly less liberal, at least for a while. >> chris: well, let's talk -- and obviously, we don't know. but there is a conventional wisdom here in washington, and there are according to that conventional wisdom there are three front runners at this point. put them on the screen. solicitor general elena kagan and scircuit court judges diane wood and merrick garland. senator lieberman, and i understand this is the president's choice. so please don't give that
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answer. is there anyone on that list that you would immediately rule in or conversely that you might rule out? >> no, because frankly i don't know enough about any of them. the only one i believe i've actually met personally is the solicitor general, and she is a very bright and honorable person from what i can tell from the few meetings that we've had. but i don't know her background, in terms of the opinions she holds. that's why we have a j judiciary hearing and we'll have a hearing. too early to rank the nominees. i'm encouraged by the mention of some people of the possibility that president obama may choose someone who is not a sitting judge at this time. you know, the remaining eight justices on the supreme court have all come to the court from appellate judgeships. maybe we need somebody who has been a law professor, or a lawyer, practicing lawyer, or a person in public office like a governor or senator. >> chris: senator alexander,
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looking at that list of kagan, wood and garland, is there anybody -- you talked about reserving the right to filibuster in extraordinary circumstances. is there anybody on that list who would immediately be filibuster bait, or conversely anybody on the list that would sail through? >> that is a great question. but i'm not about to start kicking nominees i would reject before the president even makes one. i think the thing to look for is, is the president going to insist on this unusual standard he used as a senator and talked about as the president to pick a justice who is on his side, or on your side? that's exactly what a supreme court justice is not supposed to be. not supposed to be somebody you can particularly depend on to be on your side in a controversial case. you want a supreme court justice who will be impartial. that is the oath. and whose judgment you can't predict. one reason i voted for ju justice sotomayor was she
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rejected the feel or empathy standard of the president. >> chris: the other big story this week is signing of the new nuclear arms treaty with russia in prague this week. senator lieberman, you say you may vote against it, depending on whether president obama will modernize our nuclear arsenal. but the administration issued a nuclear posture review this week, in which it explicitly said it does not intend to build new nuclear warheads or to engage in underground testing. is the president going to have to back off that strategy to win your vote for the treaty? >> not just my vote. i think that this -- let me say first about the treaty, that anytime we're working on something with the old cold war enemy russia cooperatively, it's a good sign. anything we can do to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world is a positive development.
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as we reduce the number of nuclear warheads that the world has in a world that is still dangerous, very dangerous, and in which the spread of nuclear powers, particularly iran, rose every day, we have to make darn sure that our nuclear warheads are capable, are modern. a lot of them are decades old. so i feel very strongly that i'm going to be, i'm going to be real hesitant to vote for this treaty, unless we have a commitment from the administration that they're prepared to modernize our nuclear stockpistockpile. i want to go a step further based on conversations i had over the break with some of my colleagues. i don't believe that there will be 67 votes to ratify the star treaty, unless the administration does two things. first, commit to modernize the nuclear stockpile so as we have less nuclear weapons we know they're capeabcapable, god forbid we need them. and secondly, make absolutely clear that the statements by
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president medvedev at the signing in prague seem to suggest if we continue to build the ballistic missile defense in europe, that they may pull out of the treaty, it's just unacceptable to us. we need that defense to protect our allies and ourselves from iran. >> chris: senator alexander, the president is going to need eight republicans to vote for the treaty to get the super-supermajority of 67 votes. and if lieberman is gone, then he needs nine republican votes. what are the chances for that kind of bipartisan support for this treaty? >> well, it depends how the questions are answered. the treaty is a modest step in a direction that goes all the way back to president nixon, president reagan, the first president bush, the second president bush with the moscow treaty. i mean reducing the number of nuclear weapons that are deployed at 1500 gives us plenty to blow everybody to kingdom come if that's what we choose to do. the questions are some of the ones mentioned by senator lieberman. we need to take plenty of
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time to answer them. will we at the same time modernize our own force? can we still verify as well as we did in the first start treaty? there is new technology. will we build the missile defense systems. then while the treaty may be in the right direction and the nuclear summit that is coming to town may be an impressive group of people, the nuclear posture statement that the president put out is troublesome to me. it takes away the ambiguity of nuclear power. m -- ambiguity is sometimes useful. >> chris: if i may press this, what are the chances at this point and given the fact they issued the nuclear posture that you could pick up eight votes for the treaty? eight republican votes. >> first, not a chance it will approved this year. it took a year to push the first start treaty. with the supreme court in the
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senate and the jobs and debt being the issues we should worry about, this is a treatfy for next year. we have can't answer the question until we ask the right questions and get right answers. >> chris: switch to another subject, there are reports, gentlemen, the administration is considering in its new national security review taking out all references to the phrase "islamic extremism." senator lieberman, you are making public here on "fox news sunday" today a letter you have just written to the president's top counterterrorism advisor john brennan, in which you say this -- "the failure to identify our enemy for what it is, violent islamist extremism, is offensive and contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to know your enemy." senator, what about the argument that we run the risk if we keep talking about islamic extremism of turning off muslim countries by appearing to attack their faith?
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>> well, my letter to john brennan is just kind of the result of me getting so frustrated by previous attempts to complain about this to the administration. this proposed change in the national security strategy dropping the term "violent islamist extremism" is not the first time it's happened. the defense department did a whole report on the massacre by dr. hasan of 13 americans at fort hood. clearly from the record he was motivated by islamist extremism. and they didn't mention that term there. this is not honest. and frankly, i think it's hurtful in our relations with the muslim world. we are involved in a war as everybody says for the hearts and minds of the muslim world. we're not in a war against islam. it's a group of islamist extremism who has taken the muslim religion and made it into a political ideology. and i think if we're not clear about that, we
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disrespect the overwhelming majority of muslims who are not extremists. the clear reality is that this war started when we were attacked on 9/11 and 3,000 americans were killed. not by some emorphis group of violent extrialist or white supremacist extremiextremist. they were motivated and organized by the ideology preached by osama bin laden. and unless we're honest about that, we're not going to be able to defeat this enemy. i think it's time to blow the whistle on what i think is a terribly mistaken policy. it's absolutely orwellian and counterproductive to fight we're fighting at risk of great life every day to stop violent extremism of islamist base. >> chris: we have less than two minutes less and i want to get you both on one more issue. along those lines, senator alexander, after signing the treaty and talking with russian president medvedev,
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president obama talked about imposing more sanctions on iran this spring. take a look. >> we are going to be pushing very hard to make sure that both smart and strong sanctions end up being in place soon to send a signal to iran and other countries that this is an issue that the international community takes seriously. >> chris: senator alexander, how confident are you that this new, which would be the fourth round of sanctions against iran, will be effective in getting them to stop developing their nuclear program? >> not very confident, chris. but i think the president should proceed with it, and i've signed a letter along with other senators suggesting that. iran is our most dangerous situation right now. that's going back to the nuclear posture statement of the president a couple weeks ago. i don't think that, taking away the ambiguity in the nuclear power will scare iran or north korea. only resoluteness on the part of the commander in chief will do that. and the confusion in knowing
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who a terrorist is, whether it's someone flying into a detroit airport trying to bomb it at christmastime or what it's not being willing to try the 9/11 mastermind in the military court, that kind of confusion that senator lieberman talks about does not help us in dealing in a forth right and candid way with others who are dangerous. >> chris: senator lieberman, 30 seconds left and the president is holding a nuclear security summit here in washington in the next two days. he is meeting with the russian president, meeting with the chinese president in the next couple of days. do you have any sense that he is on the right track to get iran to stop? >> well, the summit is a good idea, because it's all about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to non-state actors terrorist groups and criminal gangs. but look, we've been negotiating, the europeans have for three or four years with the iranians. we've been talking nice to
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them. we've been offering them opportunities to avoid a conflict. and all they do is continue to move ahead with a nuclear weapons program. that will change the world as we know it and make it ever-more dangerous. we've got to adopt tough sanctions. congress i think can do that this month. it's in a conference committee. then the president has to be prepared to unilaterally apply the sanctions. it's either tough sanctions on iran, which they respond to. but tough sanctions are our last hope to avoid a very stark decision. either military action against iran or a world in which iran has nuclear weapons. when that happens, all the efforts that the president is making and others, our start treaty, the nuclear summit this week will be blown apart. >> chris: gentlemen, we have to leave it there. senator lieberman, senator alexander, i want to thank you both so much for joining us today. please come back, gentlemen. >> thank you, chris. >> will do. >> chris: up next, fighting the white house and rising
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through conservative ranks. we hear from tea party favorite, congressman michele bachmann right after the break. ♪ [ male announcer ] we call it the american renewal. because we believe in the strength of american businesses. ♪ ge capital understands what small businesses need to grow and create jobs. today, over 300,000 businesses rely on ge capital for the critical financing they need to help get our economy back on track. the american renewal is happening right now. ♪ hey what's going on? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way.
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because somewhere in america, more than sixty thousand people spend every day answering them. siemens. answers. >> chris: joining us now one of the more controversial figures in politics these days, but a favorite among tea party conservatives. minnesota congresswoman michele bachmann who comes to us from saint paul. congressmanwoman, welcome to "fox news sunday." >> thank you, chris wallace. thank you so much. >> chris: back in the 2008
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campaign you famously said that barack obama may have anti-american views and then you quickly expressed regret for those comments, but the other day, you took back your apology. i want to put it up on the screen. you said -- congresswoman, why the switch? and do you really believe the president of the united states has anti-american views? >> well, what i'm concerned about are the policies, chris, of the last 15 months. it's stunning if you look at what has happened in our economy. we have gone from the united states having 100% of the private economy private, to today the federal government effectively owns or controls 51% of the private economy. whether it's the large banks, aig, the largest insurance
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company, freddie and fannie which has the federal government owning half of all private mortgages, the student loan industry, g.m., chrysler and now healthcare. that's 18% of the economy just in healthcare. if you add all of that up, chris, that is 51% of the private economy that the federal government now owns or controls. those are the policies that i'm concerned about. we don't want the federal government owning or controlling private industry. >> chris: i guess there are two points i'd make there. one is a lot of those things -- the bail-out of the banks and aig, a lot of that was done by a republican president, president bush. >> that's right. that's right. >> chris: and there is a difference of opinion. then there becomes a question whether you call it anti-american. you had a big rally with sarah palin this week and the tea partiers up in minnesota. and afterwards, you talked to sean hannity and you said this. >> this is the most radical president and the most
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radical speaker, the most radical senator leader we have seen in the history of the country. >> chris: again, i guess the question is a matter of ret ti -- rhetoric, anti-american, the most radical. you don't have any problem saying that? >> i think the policies are among the most radical we have ever seen in the history of the country. clearly, the country has never gone this far in taking over this much of the private economy. it is changing the way that we're doing business in the united states forever. i don't think it's going in a good direction. >> chris: but can it -- obviously, you strongly, and a lot of americans strongly disagree with the president's policies. can't you disagree with his policies without saying that he is anti-american? >> i didn't say he was anti-american when i was on sean hannity's show. i said his policies are radical. and i think they are. i think the federal government controlling parts of the private economy is a
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radical move that i don't think will get us anywhere. let's face it. right now the president is proposing a western european style tax, the value-added tax. a very expensive tax. he might call it a form of a national sales tax. i'm a former federal tax litigation attorney. it isn't that we aren't taxed enough today in the united states. if we add a value-added tax on top of everything else, we could be looking effectively at national sales tax in the neighborhood of 20 to 25%. that will have a tremendous drag on our economy. it will be very hard for to us go forward with full employment. as a matter of fact, the administration has said that the new normal may be elevated levels of unemployment near 10%. that is unacceptable. we don't have to be at that level. our policies can change so that we can go back to full employment and high prosperity. >> chris: i think in fairness we have to point out the president hasn't proposed that. one of his top economic
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advisors paul volcker this week suggested that the u.s. might have to consider it. but the president hasn't proposed that. but let me, if i may, go on to another subject. the day after the house passed healthcare reform, which i know is one of the issues that you're most incensed about, you went to the floor and filed, i believe it's the first piece of legislation that would repeal obama-care. question: how would you handle the 30 million americans or more that are currently uninsured? >> well, my bill is hr-4903. i encourage people go to michelebachmann.com to sign the petition to repeal obama-care. we can do it. i won't be an easy lift. it will be tough, but we have to retake majorities this fall in the house and the senate and two years from now have a new president. come february 2013, we can repeal obama-care. how would we take care of the 30,000 people -- >> chris: 30 million. >> sorry. thank you. 30 million people that don't have health insurance in the
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first thing that we should do is address the cost issue to make it more accessible for more people. number one, we would allow people to buy insurance anywhere they want in the united states. number two, let them buy it with their own tax-free money. number three, fully deduct all of their healthcare expenses, whether it's premiums, co-pays, high deductibles, whether it is vision, dental, chiropractor, whatever it is. fully deduct it on the income tax return. and have tort reform, lawsuit abuse reform. if you do those four measures you will dramatically lower the cost for all americans. because in the united states, years ago, it isn't that we didn't provide care for those who weren't able to afford it. we had charity hospitals. and a number of doctors provided free care on a pro bono basis. they did that because they didn't fear lawsuits that would be coming their way. >> chris: congresswoman -- >> today, doctors don't have the luxury. >> chris: i don't mean to
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interrupt but i want to talk to you about a bunch of issues and we're going to run out of time here. >> go ahead. >> chris: you're one of the favorites of the tea party and you talked about how you believe the tea party will end up supporting and in fact being a great source of strength for the republican party in the 2010 elections. but there are choices that republicans are going to have to make in g.o.p. primaries. let me give you a couple of examples. in florida, who do you pick when it comes to the establishment candidate, the sitting governor charlie crist who is running for the u.s. senate, or the tea party favorite marco rubio? >> well, i have my personal favorite. i'm a m minnesotan so i can't cast a vote. my favorite is marco rubio. >> chris: why? >> right now he is surging in the polls and i think he has identified with floridians probably more than either of the two candidates. >> chris: how about in arizona where you're going to have a g.o.p. primary? the sitting senator john mccain or former congressman j.d. hayworth?
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>> again, that will be for arizonaens to decide. i'm a minnesotan. both of those candidates are making a strong case. as i understand j.d. hayworth is closing in on senator mccain right now. it will be up to the voters in arizona to make their choice. >> chris: you're taking a pass there, congresswoman. >> well, i know both gentleman, and they're both honorable men. >> chris: now, you keep saying that barack obama is a one-term president. this weekend, the republicans have been holding -- the southern republicans -- a leadership conference in new orleans. they also held a straw poll last night. let's put up the results of that poll. mitt romney finished first beating ron paul by one vote. sarah palin narrowly beat newt gingrich for third. congresswoman, what does that tell you about where the g.o.p. is now in finding a candidate to run against barack obama and make him the one-term president you say he is going to be? >> well, i think we're going to have a full bench of great
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candidates coming in to 2012. if you look at the approval numbers for president obama, he has fallen faster and farther than any previous president in the polling. i think it's his policies that people are looking at and they're recoiling from. his is not an agenda that people want to embrace. therefore, i think that our candidate needs to be a strong, bold, courageous, constitutional conservative. and i don't know that we fully yet know who our front-runner will be. although, the results that came out yesterday point to mitt romney. but i think a lot will happen in the next two years. we'll have a vigorous debate coming forward with our candidates. and i know we are going to put together a top flight candidate and vice president to run in 22012. >> chris: we have about a minute left. why do you think you're a lightning rod for your supporters, especially in the tea party movement, and for your many critics? >> well, i think part of that may be because when i talk
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about what is happening in washington, d.c., i use the actual statements or comments or the data that nancy pelosi or president obama or harry reid refer to. i use their own statements on them. and usually they don't like that very much. they don't like to be quoted back with what they've said. >> chris: and briefly, i know your main goal is to get re-elected from your congressional district in minnesota in november. but longer term, what do you see as your role in american politics? >> well, what i see really is being in the united states congress. it's a tremendous honor to be able to serve there. it's the people's house. it's really meant to be the f fulcrum of our government where the people have their voice. it's an honor for me to serve there. i don't look any higher than that. i just look at the house where i'm serving today. i'm really about more making sure that our nation follows our constitution, the bill of rights, the declaration of independence. that is my focus right now.
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i see that our nation strayed. i want to make sure that going forward we get back to our constitutional roots. that's our greatness. that's what i hope to continue to encourage. >> chris: congresswoman bachmann, thank you so much for coming in today. now what we've had you on "fox news sunday," we'll have to have you back to talk some more. >> be delighted to. thank you, chris. >> chris: up next, a supreme court justice announces his retirement. and washington braces for another confirmation battle. who is on the president's short list? our sunday panel breaks it down.
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it will also be someone who like justice stevens knows in a democracy powerful interest must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. >> chris: president obama sounding a populist note as he talked about what he's looking for in a supreme court nominee to replace retiring justice john paul stevens. it's time now for our sunday group. bill kristol of "the weekly standard." mara liasson of national public radio. former state department official liz cheney. and juan williams also from national public radio. that comment about standing up to powerful interests seemed to be a clear reference, bill, to the president's continuing battle with the supreme court ruling last january that citizens united case, which allowed corporations and unions to use unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates. is that a smarter way to sell
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this nominee than the empathy standard he used last time? and just generally, do you think he is going to make a nomination looking for a fight or looking to avoid a fight? >> i think it would be good to have a nominee that stood up against powerful interest like elite law schools, which are a powerful interest in the u.s. i believe if elena kagan is nominated, which i select, the solicitor general, every justice on the court went to ivy league law school. president obama went to harvard law school so he's not concerned about that. he wi will nominate someone who is well qualified and will have hopefully easy nomination. he wants those without political effect. sotomayor and alito didn't play in the election cycle. they con soup everyone when they -- consume everyone when they're happening but then they end and the person is on the court. if you look at the poll, the voters are conservative when it comes to the supreme court. they have old fashioned views
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of judges imposing the law, not interpreting the law. they're more concerned with this after the three or four years. after the debate over the justices. so the more the issue of what kind of judge you want is debated, it's somewhat better for conservatives and republicans. president obama knows that and he wants someone with high, you know, hard-to-challenge credentials and i think it's going to be solicitor general elena kagan. >> chris: all right. he may have chosen the nominee but put up the list of the front runners. there seems to be three according to conventional wisdom at this point. solicitor general elena kagan, bill's choice, and circuit court judges diane wood and merrick garland. your sense of is there a favorite amongst those three and what message would one or the other end? >> i think the threshold decision for the white house is how big of a fight you want to have. bill says the supreme court decisions don't have much of an impact. this is a mid-term election year. the base of each party does care about these picks.
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that's who counts in the mid-term election. this is kind of an unusual one. i think the least controversial might be merrick garland. he is considered the most centrist of the three. i think diane wood is considered the most liberal. i guess if you are thinking that you might move a big chunk of your senate majority or the whole thing in the fall, maybe you want to go for it and figure this is the most liberal chance -- this is the biggest chance you will have to put a liberal on the court, so why not go for diane wood or elena kagan, as bill said, who is somebody in the middle there. she hasn't ever been a judge and she doesn't have a judicial record to defend. but there is controversy about her, too. you know, she banned legal recruiters at harvard. military legal recruiters at harvard. but on the other hand she did recruit more conservative professors to campus when she was the dean there. i think the threshold decision is how big a fight do you want to have? >> chris: liz, your thoughts of the choices the president has and any thoughts about the specific nominees? >> well, i actually know
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elena kagan somewhat. she was one of my professors at the university of chicago. she was a very good professor. she didn't let politics into the classroom. she was rigorous and demanding. so i have respect for her from that perspective. i think her decision on fighting, not allowing the military to recruit on campus was clearly very radical. >> chris: this had to do with the issue of the military's policy on gay in the militaries, right? that's why she didn't allow military recruiters in. >> she fought it to the supreme court and lost badly. but i think in this moment, where we are in a mid-term election year, where people are paying al a lot of attention and it gives people to remind why elections matter makes it a different opportunity than it was before. and secondly the role of national security in the debate. you now have a court on a number of occasions moved to limit the president's power in the dean decision for example, in order to put limits on the executive power
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at a time of war. so as we look at the national security issues going forward, i think those will play a larger role here as well. i don't actually think that the biggest decision or consideration is whether to have a fight. i suspect the president is going to make this decision like any president would, which is i've got to nominate somebody for the supreme court. i may or may not get another nomination, so i'm going to try to pick somebody that i think will be a bold move. and i suspect he will pick somebody obviously who is of a liberal bent here. >> chris: juan? >> i think the president feels the court is overweighed with conservatives. that it's extremely conservative court. as justice stevens famously said. he didn't move to the left. it's the court that moved to the right. so if you look at issues like guns, like abortion, gays, you know what? the president feels this court now represents more corporate interest. the case you cited, the one on campaign finance spending. so he is looking for someone who could play a role in the way that stevens did. stevens brought people over like o'connor or anthony
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kennedy to form a liberal voting block. who fits the mold perfectly? from the liberal perspective, it's diane wood. diane wood was a voice on the seventh circuit against richard posner and easterbrook and others who said here is a liberal position. people are saying yeah, this is what we need at this point in the life of this court. but the court as it's led now by chief justice roberts really has become the strongest foothold for conservatives in american government. >> chris: bill, your thoughts about -- it's not only a choice for the president as to whether he wants to pick a more liberal candidate who would create more of a political dust-up. what about for republicans and their decision as to how much of a fight they want to make of it? to some degree, it depends on who the president chooses. >> not that much. for example, i think elena kagan would be a respectable choice. but i think most republicans would oppose her and honestly should oppose her with deference to her academic credentials. because she will be a
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reliable liberal vote and i think republicans should want to have a serious debate on the constitution. i'm struck when you listen to tea party activists they often talk about we need to be constitutionalists and constitutional conservatives. michele bachmann used that phrase talking with you a couple minutes ago. i think one thing that motivates conservatives today is the sense that the constitution has become a nothing. no restrains on government. government does whatever it does. and i think the notion that there is a constitutionalist agenda on the right to pose the progressive agenda on the left has actually gone further down to the populist, than the constitutional type of issues normally do. so i think the big debate on the constitution, a serious debate actually in the senate this year would be good for republicans, good for conservatives. i think the nominee would likely get confirmed in any case. it's striking when you look at the polls, i was struck on the fox news poll. 39/25, would you prefer conservative to liberal justice four years ago. three confirmation debates since then and nothing much has happened. the court hasn't done great
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liberal things in the last four years. but now it's 52/29, would you prefer a con everyone serveativ justice. debating constitution is good for conservatives. >> conservatives nominate very conservative people to the court. chief justice, scalia, thomas, et cetera. but when a liberal president comes, no, he can't nominate liberals. you want merrick garland. >> i don't want him -- >> i'd endorse -- >> even elena kagan -- >> chris: wait, wait. you raised a thing, now -- >> he can nominate whoever he wants. he is probably going to get whoever he wants to nominate confirmed. who voted against justice roberts and justice alito? a senator from illinois maimmaim -- illinois named barack obama and joe biden. i don't think they can say when they voted against the republican in the senate and conservatives. >> we are entitled to say we respect elena kagan o or diane
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wood but their view of the constitution isn't one we want. >> chris: doesn't it get fuzzed up. when roberts is there and he says i believe in precedent -- >> it's a great charade there. >> chris: and sonia sotomayor said i'm a constitutionalist and she gets on the court and does what she wants. >> there is a certain role that any supreme court nominee of any ideological stripe has to fit themselves into. they have to be very cautious, precedent-approving. conservative. you're not going to find out much about these people through the hearings, i can assure you of that. >> chris: but we will cover them exhaustively. we have to take a break here. when we come back, president obama signs arms control treaty and presents a new strategy for u.s. nuclear weapons. sunday panel on whether he is making the country safer or more vulnerable. back in a moment.
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last i checked sarah palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues. >> now, the president with all of the vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community organizorganizer. [ applause ] >> chris: some trash talk this week between president obama and sarah palin over the administration's new policy on nuclear weapons. and we're back now with the panel. so, liz, as you look back at this week, the president signing an arms treaty with the russians issuing this new nuclear strategy, what does it all mean for u.s. national security? >> well, you know, you won't be surprised to hear, chris, i think it's very concerning. i think if you look at the new nuclear strategy, the extent it limits american freedom of action and limits our nuclear deterrent, limits our ability to use that nuclear deterrent to defend our allies against massive conventional attacks because we won't produce new nuclear warheads.
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if you look at the start treaty you have what seems to be a surprise, linkage between the missile defense and offense we're reaching with the treaty, itself, which the administration promised would not be there, in fact. >> chris: how do you see a linkage? i thought there was no linkage? >> if you look at the language in the preamble it says clearly there is a linkage between the defensive systems and offensive systems. now some can say it's a preamble. and it's not binding. >> chris: there is no actual action -- >> the russians themselves said actually it is legally binding. and, in fact, if the russians themselves feel that our missile defense systems begin to encroach on their security, that allows them then to pull out of the treaty, which in an administration like this one which is so concerned with placating and pleasing the russians, it could in fact be binding on us. you add to that also what you see happening with iran, the big new progress announced, which was a three-hour meeting at the u.n. described as constructive, but inconclusive.
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and so i think you've got across the board, you know, the president trying to achieve what he said he would frankly last year, which is that if the united states begins to cut our nuclear arsenal we'll convince north koreans and iranians to do the same. it's dangerous approach, pre-emptive disarmament and appeasement, to be blunt. i think that's the path the united states shouldn't go down and never in history has that path kept any nation safer. >> chris: juan? >> pre-emptive disarmament? the united states and russia still have enough nuclear weapons to blow everybody to smithereens, so i don't think that is the issue here. the issue for president obama as he goes forward is in keeping with republican policy for a long time, which is that you want to limit proliferation. and you especially want to control non-state actors terrorists. that's where the fight is. you want to stop the spread of nuclear weapons from nuclear powers to terrorists and you want to hold people accountable for suitcase bombs and nuclear devices and material. >> do you think a piece of
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pape herr will do that, juan? >> no. but you have to get to structure in place. the administration is trying to do that, to say they have a non-proliferation deal with the russians and others and will now say to the iranians, as much as they'd like to say to syrians and north koreans, you have to get in line and obey the rules here because this is the way the world is going. if you want to vary from that, you'll be subject to sanctions from the rest of the world, not just the united states. >> when has that ever happened? >> so therefore we shouldn't try? >> we shouldn't waste our time and think to ourselves it's providing security it's not providing, which is basically where we are right now. >> i think if you have an endless supply of nuclear weapons that can go off accidentally and anything can go wrong and stuff can then from, you know, no longer existing soviet union start to leak over to terrorists' hands, that's a huge threat. i think we have to think about that -- >> chris: would you like to get in the conversation? >> i'm not an expert on nuclear weapons, president obama would say, like juan and liz.
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[ laughter [ laughter ] what a comment. sarah palin is not much of ane, pert on nuan expert on nu nuclear weapons. sarah palin may not be an expert and i may not be an expert but i know cutting missile defense when north korea got nuclear weapons and we're doing nothing to stop iran from getting nuclear weapons is a mistake. i know, even though i'm not an expert, iran getting nuclear weapons is more important than the paper treaties and the 46 nation conferences. and the president is doing nothing to stop iran from getting nuclear weapons. that is the bottom line. that dwarfs everything else happening. >> to say the president doing nothing to stop iran from getting nuclear weapons is not true. in the end, he might fail in his efforts to stop iran but to say he's not doing anything. one of the things that the start treaty was supposed to help us with and the bilateral meetings he will have when all the leaders come here tomorrow for the nuclear summit, or loose nuke summit, is to see if he can get cooperation on
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significant meaningful sanctions against iran. i agree, so far he hasn't gotten them. russia, even though they keep saying nice things about sanctions keep putting off the table all the sanctions that really matter. that is the real test. >> but the president said on friday morning, and the history of the iranian regime like the north korea regime is applying national pressure on the countries, sometimes they choose to change behavior, sometimes they do. you do your best and get the fourth u.n. security council resolution and then they get nuclear weapons. >> chris: you seem dismissive of the effort of the administration. not that this is much of an argument, but are they doing any worse than the bush administration did? >> i think that the bush administration also failed in this regard. i think that when you get into a situation where you are spending all of your time and energy trying to get agreement at the united nations on a series of sanctions that have no bite, you are buying titime. we did it and now we are
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seeing it happen in the obama administration and it's dangerous. each day that passes is one day that the iranians are closer to a weapon and we are closer to i don't know what, getting the chinese to agree to a series of sanctions that effect nobody. >> this reminds me. republicans, it seems to me, is trying to politicize what had been previously kind of american, you know, policy with regard to stopping proliferation. >> it's not politicizing it, i just disagree with it. >> you want to have a broader conversation about obama's policy. >> i don't want to have a -- >> chris: a minute left. 20 seconds, juan. >> you are trying to politicize the argument rather than look at it for what it is. it's saying we're trying to control the spread of nuclear weapons. bombs, loose nukes. that is the threat. to suddenly go off on the other issues it seems to be -- >> i'm not off on any other issue. i don't want iran to have a nuclear weapon. the only way the diplomacy with iran works is if they believe america will use military force if the
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diplomacy fails. they have no belief in that and we're just buying time for them. you're right, the threat is terrorist with a nuclear weapon. but there is not a single thing we have talked about on the panel today that is going to prevent that from happening. certainly not the summit that is about to happen in washington this week. >> chris: but it will really screw up traffic here in washington. and make the commute to fox news -- we can agree on that. and thank you, panel. see you next week. check out the latest edition of panel plus where the group continues the discussion on our website foxnewssunday.com. we promise we will post the video before noon eastern time. up next, we hear from you. somewhere in america... there's a home by the sea powered by the wind on the plains. there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life. and there's a train that got a whole city moving again.
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for the critical financing they need to help get our economy back on track. the american renewal is happening right now. ♪ >> chris: time now for comments you posted to our blog wallace watch. our interview with republican congressman kevin mccarthy, who is putting together a new g.o.p. commitment to america got a lot of reaction. cheryl sent this --
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>> chris: and in a preview of things to come now that justice john paul stevens has announced his retirement, richard irish writes -- >> chris: please keep your comments coming. you can find us at foxnewssunday.com. that's it for today. have a great week. we'll see you next "fox news have a great week. we'll see you next "fox news sunday." captioned by closed captioning services, inc
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